Chapter 7: A Man Who Loved Seagulls
But suddenly one day he changed. He had become sixty and the next day was his birthday; people came to greet him, and they could not believe their eyes - he had changed so suddenly, in the night. Somebody told me about it also, so I walked down to his house to inquire, because this was a revolution! The Russian Revolution was nothing compared to it. The Chinese Revolution, nothing compared to it. A revolution! For sixty years this man had trained himself for discontent. How, suddenly.? What had happened, what miracle? I could not believe that even Jesus could have done such a miracle, it was not possible, because you never hear in The Bible.. Jesus cured blind men, he cured the deaf and dumb, he cured even the dead, but you don’t hear a single story of Jesus curing anybody of discontent. It is not possible.
I asked the old man - he was really happy, bubbling with happiness - I said, “What has happened to you?”
He said, “Enough is enough! For sixty years I tried to be happy and could not, so last night I decided: Now forget about it; don’t bother about happiness, just live. And here I am, happy.”
He pursued happiness for sixty years. If you pursue, you will become more and more unhappy. You are going direct, like an arrow, and God doesn’t believe in shortcuts. You will attain to your target, but happiness will not be there.
Millions of people attain their targets: they wanted to be successful, they are successful - but unhappy. They wanted to be rich, they are rich - but unhappy. The richer they get, the unhappier they become, because now even the hope is lost. They were thinking that when they became rich they would be happy; now they are rich, and happiness - they cannot see any sign of it anywhere. Now, with unhappiness hopelessness also settles.
A poor man is never hopeless, a rich man always is. And if you find a rich man who is not yet hopeless it is certain he is not yet rich. Hopelessness is the symbol of being rich. A poor man can hope. Millions of things are there which he has not got. He can dream, he can hope that when these things are there he will have attained the target. Then everything will be okay, he will be happy.
This man pursued happiness for sixty years. At sixty death is coming nearer, and he must have felt it that night, because whenever a birthday comes a subtle feeling of death arises. To suppress that feeling we celebrate birthdays. Whenever a birthday comes, on that day it is impossible to forget death. To help you forget, friends come and greet you and they say, “This is your birthday.” Every birthday is a death day, because one more year has gone, death is nearing. In fact a birthday is not a birthday, cannot be - death is approaching, death is coming nearer. Time is slipping fast through the fingers. The very earth on which you are standing is being pulled away. Soon you will be in the abyss. A birthday is a death day. To hide it, to suppress it, the society has created tricks. People will come with flowers and gifts to help you forget that death is coming nearer - and they call it a birthday.
He had become sixty. Next morning a new birthday was approaching. He must have felt, he must have heard the sounds, the footsteps, of death somewhere around.the shadow. And he decided: Enough is enough. I pursued long - almost my whole life has been wasted in trying to be contented, and I could not be, so now I will do without. The old man said, “Now here I am. I have never been so contented as I am today, absolutely contented. There is no discontent, no unhappiness.”